State park closure affects camping, day-use

Despite warnings from local and state government officials about social distancing, Oregon beaches were packed with visitors last weekend. COURTESY PHOTO

At the direction of Gov. Kate Brown, and in keeping with the guidance that all Oregonians should stay home and stay healthy, the Oregon State Park system closed at the end of the day Monday, March 23. Day-use areas were closed starting March 23 at 5 p.m. Campers needed to check out no later than 1 p.m.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) previously ordered a campground closure that would have started April 3 and advised travelers to avoid day trips to full parks. With new guidance from the governor and clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks, a statewide state park closure is necessary. Beaches can be closed by OPRD at their discretion and will be closed if social distancing practices are not followed.

All daytime park services will be closed statewide, including parking areas and restrooms. Campers will be refunded for all canceled nights. All travelers are advised to follow the guidance to stay home to stay healthy. City and county parks and other public land managers are open at their discretion, with the recommendation they do so only if they can adhere to social distancing practices.

“We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans,” says Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “We know this will cause a disruption, since we’re suspending service to everyone, even people who live near a park. Reducing contact between people is more important than recreation at the moment.”

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